Wednesday, 12 November 2014

La Mort Des Artistes





This is the second piece in a group entitled "Etude de Couleur et Lumière" (Study in Colour and Light). Inspired by the French symbolist poet, Charles Baudelaire, it is an attempt to recreate a poem in musical form. Even the intonation of the poem - the exact rise and fall of the vowel sounds - is reflected in the music. In fact, every element of the poetry is represented musically. Also, this work signifies an important evolutionary step in my musical output; it unifies the two opposing elements of timbralism and colourism.

La Mort des Artistes.

Combien faut-il de fois secouer mes grelots
Et baiser ton front bas, morne caricature?
Pour piquer dans le but, de mystique nature,
Combien, ô mon carquois, perdre de javelots?

Nous userons notre âme en de subtils complots,
Et nous démolirons mainte lourde armature,
Avant de contempler la grande Créature
Dont l'infernal désir nous remplit de sanglots!

Il en est qui jamais n'ont connu leur Idole,
Et ces sculpteurs damnés et marqués d'un affront,
Qui vont se martelant la poitrine et le front,

N'ont qu'un espoir, étrange et sombre Capitole!
C'est que la Mort, planant comme un soleil nouveau,
Fera s'épanouir les fleurs de leur cerveau!

How many times must I shake my bells 
And kiss your brow, sad mockery? 
To strike at the heart of mystic nature, 
How many darts, O my quiver, must I lose?

We will wear away our souls with subtle schemes
And we will demolish many a stricture
Before we gaze on the glorious Creature
Which makes us grieve with tormented desire!

There are some who never knew their Idol
And there are sculptors damned and branded by insult,
Who hammer their brows and their own breasts,

In only one hope, bizarre and somber Capitol! 
It is that Death, rising like a new sun, 
Will bring to blossom the flowers of their thoughts!

Romina Basso, who translated the poem, provides us with this insight:

'A purpose of art if not the singular purpose of art, he suggests, is to struggle towards the one "hope" that dying brings blossoms to the "flowers of their thoughts". ' 


It is a live performance which is sung beautifully by the alto singer, Rachel Fisher.

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